Thursday, February 09, 2012

[The Life of Shaun #444] Greetings from Manteno, IL!


Hi all,

Just wanted to send an update to let some of you know what's been up with me, and update some of you on the recent happenings.

Two weeks ago, my sisters flew to London for a long weekend city break.  That same night, we learned that my Mom had been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer that day.  The three of us immediately booked a flight out to Chicago and left the next morning, my sisters with only their weekend carry-on bags in hand.

Fourteen temporal days and a lifetime later, I have a few moments alone at the Country Inn Suites off I-57.  The first few days were traumatic, but eventually levelled off as we moved from despair to supporting roles.  Mom's initial prognosis was better than first feared, which made everyone feel a little bit better.  Also, my sisters and I pushed Mom to get another opinion with a doctor who's more tuned in than the sole oncologist at my Mom's rural hospital.  She explained all the medical reports from the first day my Mom went into the hospital and connected all the dots for us.  There are more treatments out there than the country doc advised, so we're laying foundations to get Mom the treatments she decides on.

I am heading back to London Saturday night.  Lisa is returning to Greece on the same flight to pack up her house and move her daughter and herself to Naperville to be near Mom and guide her on her treatment.  Lara won't be returning to Italy at all and instead will be setting up the Chicago area home for Lisa and her.  Lara's children and husband arrive tomorrow, as does our Dad.  So, as unlikely as it ever seemed, the Coley family will be reunited again in Illinois, in Winter*.

I will take a short moment here to segue into a rant: tomorrow I have to attend an interview with my Mom to decide whether or not she's eligible to enrol in a government programme to pay for the treatment she needs.  My Mom has Medicare A, but B doesn't kick in until July, so she either has to politely ask the cancer not to progress for six months or she has to apply to other options.  There is every real chance she may not be able to afford treatment to keep her alive.  If I were a spiteful person, I would wish this situation on each and every person who is against universal health care in America.  But I am kind and magnanimous, so I will wish it only on congressional Repugnicans instead.  I am completely and fully baffled how anyone (other than the super rich) finds this system preferable to any of Europe's, Canada's, Australia's - basically every country of which America considers itself the 'leader'.

Cheers from the frozen prairie,
Shaun


*The fifth-warmest in Chicago's history, thankfully, but that relief is screeching to an end this weekend: Saturday's high will be -5°C.
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